It's official: I am in love with London, England. All it took was a glance out the window during the descent of the flight, and it had me at hello. London is beautiful bright green hills, and it is castles the size of a small country. It's the hustling and bustling of millions of interesting people, each with their own unique story. It is BIG. It is loud and crazy, a combination of two things that I have never fancied until this very day. It's invigorating and thrilling, and it seems to be challenging me to see and to do every single thing that it possibly has to offer in the next seven weeks.
This morning I happened to be on the same flight as three other girls in my group: Kyla, Brittany, and McKenzie. From SLC to Chicago, Chicago to London: about twelve hours total. When we arrived, we got our Oyster passes and jumped on the tube (as if customs, the baggage claim, etc. were a quick process) and an overeager Englishman (also a passenger on the tube) began asking us questions about who we were and where we were from and where we were staying in London; questions that young American girls who've never been to London shouldn't be asked because they just sort of shake their head in all directions and try not to give direct answers and just end up looking very dumb and naive. Having had that first experience, we began developing a system of lies to protect ourselves.
Not long afterwards, we did just what each of our mothers were hoping that we'd do in this giant city, I'm sure... we got lost. Lost in London. Four first-timers. As we were getting off the tube at our stop, the door closed after Brittany hopped off, separating her from the three of us and taking us further along on the subway than was the plan. We jumped off at the next stop, hoping that Brittany had directions to our flats and praying that we could backtrack and reach our destination on our own. Mind you, all this time, the weather refused to cooperate. It was pouring rain, and it was bloody cold. I was lugging a large backpack and two suitcases totaling twice my weight. But despite all that, I was sincerely enjoying myself. The four of us couldn't stop smiling and we kept mumbling things like, "hey, we're in London" and "oh my gosh, this is real. We're really here." In time we found our way, as did Brittany. As soaking and miserably tired as we were, we couldn't help but laugh as we trekked along, and we were sure to document the end result of mop hair, wet socks and pruned feet, sopping luggage, and one sad set of printed directions. What an adventure.
Any ideas for great places to eat in London? Today we found Whole Foods (thank heavens!) which isn't too far away from our flats. We ate lunch there, then I went back later for some familiar almond milk and gluten-free granola. I will definitely survive here. On the gluten-filled side, I'm dying to try some of the famous London crepes... that's on the docket for tomorrow.
This afternoon I visited Platform Nine and Three Quarters with Hadley and Meghan. Turns out that Harry Potter was really filmed at St. Pancras, not King's Cross, but they made it look like it was King's Cross. Dirty little trick. Chris, I made sure to capture my moment entering 9 3/4, just for you. We also viewed the Tower of London from afar today, until the rain began to pound again and our umbrellas flipped inside out and began to break. We'll save that one for another day.
It feels like I've been here over a week already, and it's only been... well, I honestly don't know how long it's been since I left. Less than 48 hours, I think. I guess time doesn't really have to mean anything at the moment.
I love London, did I say that already? More exciting reports to come tomorrow.